From Endurance to Dressage
Since show season has arrived, here's how to put together a show ensemble pretty reasonably.
I began my quest for show clothing by eliminating what I was using for endurance rides: Ariat Terrains with summer weight half chaps (synthetic leather with perforated fabric over the calf), tights in blue, brown, black, wine, or wild prints, workout-styled tops, pebble-palmed gloves for winter, blue helmet with matching blue visor, blue windbreaker for cool days, and a blue or black rain coat for wet days. None of these would work in the dressage court.
So I left my closet, closed my drawer, and began searching the internet and catalogs for more appropriate clothing. My first lucky find came from my horseshoer's wife. She and her daughters were trading in their English riding wear for rodeo styled clothing and tack. I picked up a pair of gently used Ariat field boots for a cool $85. [I have since bought a pair of Ariat Maestro Dressage boots, and I school in the field boots.]
Once I acquired the boots, I realized that none of my socks were tall enough to provide cushion under those TALL boots. Second cool deal was the purchase of two pair of stylish tall socks from Target for $2.00 a pair. AND, they look EXACTLY like the $15.00 pair in the catalogs.
My next find came courtesy of Yozo's mom. She spotted some deals on show clothes at Horse Loverz.com. I picked up a nice pair of white, On Course breeches for $38.95, which included the shipping! And, they FIT!
Once I knew I had breeches, I sent my pal, Taz's mom, to the Goodwill where she picked up a gently used black belt for a paltry $1.95! The bottom half of my wardrobe was now in place. The top half remained ...
Stateline Tack was having a $5.99 flat rate shipping special so I started shopping for the rest of my clothing. I picked up a ladies "Starter" show shirt for $18.99, a snaffle bit stock pin for $4.99, a French velvet barrette with netting (which actually works pretty well) for $6.99, a velveteen helmet cover for $7.99 (did NOT need that), and a pair of white cross country gloves for $3.99 (definitely not good show quality, but they are cool for summer showing and they're cheap to replace).
The next items I had to find were a show coat and a show helmet. Again, the blue windbreaker and blue helmet were not going to work. Stateline Tack was still having the $5.99 flat rate shipping so I ordered a dressage coat for $99, but it came with a $25 gift card! I then applied the gift card to the purchase of an IRH Medalist Helmet which was originally $49.95, but I only paid $24.95 plus the $5.99 shipping.
So ... boots to hair bow, what was my final cost?
Drum roll please .... $314.77! It sounded cheap when I was picking things up for $6.99, but added all together, it wasn't as cheap as I was hoping for. My initial plan was to try for 4 shows last summer. I actually made it to six shows. So, divide the $315 by six, and the cost was only $52.50 per show. And I am still using all the stuff that I bought. Now that's a price most riders can handle!
Before and After - Click photos for a larger view
About the Writer and Rider
I am a lifelong rider.
I began endurance riding in 1996 where I ultimately completed five, one-day 100 mile races, the 200-mile Death Valley Encounter, and numerous other 50, 65, and 75 mile races. I began showing dressage in 2010.
Welcome to my dressage journey.
About Speedy G
Speedy went from endurance horse to dressage horse. After helping me earn a USDF Bronze medal in the summer of 2020, he is now semi-retired. Speedy is a 2004, 15'1 hand, purebred Arabian gelding. His Arabian Horse Registry name is G Ima Starr FA.
Izzy was started as a four-year old and then spent the next 18 months in pasture growing up. I bought him as a six-year old, and together, we are showing at the lower levels. He is a 2008, 16'3 hand warmblood gelding. His Rheinland Pfalz-saar International (RPSI) name is Imperioso.
National Rider Awards
State Rider Awards
State Horse Awards
CDS Sapphire Rider Award
Third Level: 63.514%
Third Level: 62.105%
2023 Show Season
(r) Ride-a-Test Clinic
2023 Show Schedule
2023 Completed …
2023 Qualifying Scores
Regional Adult Amateur Competition (RAAC)
Qualifying Training Level
3 Scores/2 Judges/60%: